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Scams, elder financial exploitation focus of town hall

BATON ROUGE - The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Louisiana Department of Justice hosted a town hall focusing on the topic of elder financial exploitation Thursday.

Louisiana State Attorney General Jeff Landry offered up a warning to people taking advantage of others through scams.

"Well if we can catch you we're going to put you in jail for a long, long time," said Landry.

Scams come in all shapes and sizes but have a few things in common: they're all dishonest and they're not trying to help you.

Mick Mulvaney, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau acting Director says the only reason scams happen is because their ploys work.

"If we can educate people to where it doesn't work anymore then these folks will go someplace else," said Mulvaney.

Scams come in all shapes and sizes, whether they're over the phone, the Internet, or in person. A scammer can obtain your identity by confirming your information and committing fraud or pretend to be a legitimate online seller. They can play on emotional triggers and get someone to send them money, ask for donations or provide an investment opportunity that doesn't exist. A scam can come in the form of a job with a promise to make fast money. Other scams can involve a threat.

"Many of those perpetrators are located overseas and it's difficult to locate them, it's difficult to be able to pinpoint them," said Landry.

Landry says the best way to prevent someone from becoming a victim to a scam is through education and town halls like the one held Thursday.

More information about the town hall, including a replay of the event can be found here.

There are a number of apps available that can help protect people from scams and unwanted calls. AT&T Call Protect is a free network-based app that gives eligible AT&T wireless customers with HD Voice more control over unwanted calls on their smartphones with automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam call warnings.

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